How to Install LED Lights on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

LED lights are a popular aftermarket option Vehicles most Vehicles as they are brighter-than-normal halogen bulbs and last a lot longer while using less power. The problem with installing LED lights on your Vehicles is that you cannot simply swap out the bulbs. You actually need to replace the entire light assembly. The two most common lights that are converted to LED are the headlights and taillights. In order to do so, you must remove the old headlight/taillight assembly and install the new LED assemblies.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install LED Lights on a Motorcycle

Preparation

Select a mounting point for the controller. The controller is usually mounted under the seat or behind body panels.

Determine your mounting locations for the lights, such as around the engine, within bodywork or under fenders. Ensure that the lights will not be damaged by contacting other the components of the motorcycle.

Locate a route that the light wiring will be run to the battery. For maximum effect, the wiring should be as discreet as possible.

Clean the mounting locations, making sure to remove any oil or other residues that may interfere with the light's adhesives.

Installation

Remove the seat or any body components required to access your battery.

Mount the controller to its mounting point with adhesive tape and run the wiring harness to the battery. Do not connect it at this time.

Remove one side of the adhesive backing's protective strip and mount it onto the lights.

Place the first light onto its mounting point, leaving the remaining backing on the adhesive strip until you are satisfied with the light's location. If the mounting location is suitable, remove the strip and place the light.

Run and connect the light's wire to the controller.

Secure the wiring to the frame using zip-ties to keep the wiring hidden and to prevent damage.

Repeat until all lights have been connected to the controller.

Connect the wiring harness to the battery.

Re-install the seat and any body panels removed in Step 1.

Items you will need

  • Wire stripping and crimping tool

 How to Install LED Lights on a Car

Headlights

Turn the vehicle's engine off and open the hood.

Disconnect the electrical connection harness from the rear of the headlight assembly. Some vehicles require you to remove a rubber seal or cover to access the connector.

Remove the fasteners securing the assembly to the engine compartment. Most vehicles have screws that can be removed with a Phillips screwdriver, but others have bolts that need to be removed with a socket wrench. Pull the assembly out of the engine compartment.

Install the LED headlight assembly and reinstall the fasteners. Reattach the connector harness and the rubber seal/cover if necessary.

Repeat with the other headlight assembly and close the hood.

Taillights

Turn the vehicle's engine off and open the trunk.

Remove the two screws or bolts securing the taillight cover to the trunk and remove the cover.

Disconnect the taillight's electrical connector harness and remove it from the vehicle.

Install the replacement LED assembly and reconnect the harness. Reinstall the cover and screws.

Repeat with the other taillight assembly and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Install LED Lights on a Harley Sportster 1200 Custom

Remove the turn signal lenses from the stock turn signal housings of the Harley-Davidson Sportster as well as the taillight lens by unscrewing the fittings that attach the lenses to their light housings. The lenses have a rubber O-ring that seals against the light housing, so they won't just fall away. With the screws removed from the lens, use your fingers to pull the lens away from the housing.

Twist the light bulb located within the Harley-Davidson light housing in a counterclockwise direction to free it from the socket, then pull it straight out. The replacement LED light bulb installs into this socket. Smear a small amount of dielectric grease onto the LED light bulb's electrical plug, then push the LED bulb into the socket and turn it in a clockwise direction to fasten it in place. Do this to all four turn signals as well as the brake light on the motorcycle.

Push the Sportster's turn signal lenses back into place and then run the screws into the mounting holes in the lens, tightening them down with the screwdriver until the lens is snug against the light housing. Do the same with the brake light lens to finish the installation.

Items you will need

  • Slotted screwdriver

  • Dielectric grease

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.